Mental Health Awareness Month

In Small Business by Amy T2 Comments

Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year or that the number of U.S. adults with anxiety disorders is 42.5 million? 

Those numbers are staggering to me and I am grateful that in 2024, our communities are more open to discussing these issues and we are working together to end the stigma. With my own struggles through depression and anxiety, I know first hand how difficult it is to reach out for help. Especially, when you are in the thick of it and can’t seem to find a way out.

The intention of this blog post is to bring awareness, start up a conversation, share tips for things that worked for me to overcome my own mental health struggles and to just let anyone know that I am a listening ear, no matter what time of the day! 

Personal Projects to help

In 2016, I hit rock bottom and was just plain tired of struggling with my depression. At that point, I had spent a decade working with therapists through counseling, on medication, but no matter what I did I felt I hit a wall and nothing seemed to help. Then one day I realized that I needed to change something. I needed something else to focus on while I was working with health professionals through my depression and anxiety. I needed a personal project, something else to focus on.

The benefits of a personal project

I received my first camera from my husband and got busy learning how to use it. This task was not easy as I struggled through confidence issues, but eventually, after each small success of knowledge, my confidence grew. Having a camera got me outside in nature, which is very helpful in healing. There is something healing about being in nature, listening to the birds chirping, smelling the grass, hiking in the woods, focusing on something outside of myself.

Engaging in a personal project can have numerous positive impacts on mental health. Here are the top three benefits I found for me while I walked this journey:

  1. Enhanced Sense of Purpose and Achievement: Having a project to work on gave me a sense of purpose and direction, helping me to stay motivated and focused. 

  2. Stress Reduction and Emotional Resilience:  By immersing myself in a personal project it provided a healthy distraction from stressors and negative thoughts. This can be especially helpful for managing anxiety and preventing rumination on stressful issues.

  3. Improved Social Connections and Support: Many personal projects, such as hobbies, creative endeavors, or volunteer work, can provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals. Building these connections can reduce feelings of loneliness and provide a support network. In my case, I joined my local photography group, the Flourish Academy, where I met many new local friends and mentors. Some of my best friends were made in this group, and I am so thankful for it!

If you are interested in how photography can benefit your mental health, check out this article 10 REASONS WHY PHOTOGRAPHY IS BENEFICIAL FOR MENTAL HEALTH.

Helpful Resources

I found that when I was struggling the hardest, I always felt so alone. To anyone reading this, I want to remind you, you are not alone! Here are a few resources that I found to be helpful while walking this journey. I must also note, none of this should be in place of talking to a healthcare professional but it can be beneficial as well.

  • 18 Mental Health Activities for Coping with Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and More

  • Better Help BetterHelp was founded in 2013 to remove the traditional barriers to therapy and make mental health care more accessible to everyone. Today, it is the world’s largest therapy service — providing professional, affordable, and personalized therapy in a convenient online format. 

  • TWOLA (To Write Love on Her Arms)  is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

  • Calm App Find Your Calm — Whether you have 60 seconds or 60 minutes, Calm can help you build a habit of mindfulness. Immerse yourself in Calm’s soothing music and sounds made for sleep, focus and relaxation. Made for All Levels. Mental Health is Health. Music for Focus & Sleep.

Whether you are struggling, or know someone who is, please remember there is help and you are not alone. Sometimes it only takes one conversation to help move the ball toward healing. It is a slow and steady journey, but I promise you there is light on the other side of the darkness. If you’re every looking for a friend or someone to go photograph with, let me know. I would love to hang out, work on a project together or be a listening ear.

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”
 Maya Angelou

Comments

  1. Amy this is such a great post! The mental health awareness movement has been really great to open up conversations, which is the first step on the journey to healing. Thank you for sharing!!

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